Mitchel­stown En­ter­prise Cen­tre plans ma­jor growth

CEN­TRE PLANS 4,,000 SQ FT EX­PAN­SION AND 300 PER CENT IN­CREASE IN WORKER NUM­BERS

The Corkman - - NEWS - BILL BROWNE

A CEN­TRE ded­i­cated to the nur­tur­ing of small indige­nous busi­nesses within the Mitchel­stown area has al­ready proven so suc­cess­ful that plans are be­ing put in place to ex­pand the fa­cil­ity.

Opened two years ago, The lo­cal En­ter­prise Cen­tre, sit­u­ated at the for­mer Ad­vance fac­tory op­po­site the Fir­gove Ho­tel, has rapidly de­vel­oped into a thriv­ing hub of en­tre­pre­neur­ial ac­tiv­ity.

It will be of­fi­cially opened next Tues­day by Min­is­ter for State at the De­part­ment of Jus­tice and Equal­ity and Cork East TD David Stan­ton.

The cen­tre is the brain­child of the Mitchel­stown Fo­rum, an um­brella group es­tab­lished as a driver for so­cial and eco­nomic change across the greater Mitchel­stown re­gion.

The prin­ci­ple aims of the Fo­rum are to give the area a uni­fied voice at lo­cal, re­gional and na­tional lev­els and to de­velop a co­he­sive, cross-com­mu­nity ap­proach to change and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of change in the area.

The cen­tre’s fa­cil­i­ties in­clude free car park­ing, full net­work­ing, meet­ing/ board­rooms, a fully equipped train­ing room and a can­teen.

In the two years since the cen­tre opened its doors it has be­come home to nine busi­nesses boast­ing a com­bined to­tal of 16 em­ploy­ees.

The chair of the Mitchel­stown Fo­rum, Liam O’Do­herty, said that de­mand for space since it opened has been such that plans are afoot to build an ad­di­tional 4,000 sq ft to ac­com­mo­date aspir­ing en­trepreneurs. Once com­pleted it will al­most triple the num­ber of peo­ple em­ployed at the cen­tre.

“We re­alised sev­eral years ago that there was a chronic short­age of suit­able space in Mitchel­stown for lo­cal en­trepreneurs seek­ing a base to start a new busi­ness. We looked at sev­eral dif­fer­ent sites and set­tled on the Ad­vance fac­tory, which has been va­cant for some time,” said Mr O’Do­herty.

“We ap­proached En­ter­prise Ire­land who agreed to pro­vide 45% of the cost, with Cork County Coun­cil of­fer­ing sig­nif­i­cant sup­port and the re­main­ing fund­ing com­ing through lo­cals who backed the project with loans and dona­tions,” he added.

Mr O’Do­herty said the suc­cess of the Cen­tre was “a great sign” for the fu­ture of Mitchel­stown.

“While the town still re­lies on large em­ploy­ers such as Dairy­gold and Aldi, there is no doubt but that small busi­nesses will be­come the great­est source of em­ploy­ment in the years ahead,” he said.

“By open­ing and ex­pand­ing the En­ter­prise Cen­tre, we in the Mitchel­stown Fo­rum want to pro­vide a suit­able en­vi­ron­ment that will al­low peo­ple with ideas to nur­ture and de­velop their busi­nesses.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about the cen­tre, its ser­vices and con­tact de­tails for man­age­ment visit www.mitchel­stow­nen­ter­prise.com.

Mitchel­stown En­ter­prise Cen­tre, which will be of­fi­cially opened next Tues­day by Min­is­ter for State David Stan­ton.

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